‘There’s something horribly eerie about snow in the country. I’d never realized it before. It’s so silent. I’d rather have rain, and hear the sound of it.’
‘I miss the newspapers,’ said Jonathan. ‘The wireless is all right in its way, but—’
‘What did it say about the weather?’
‘Snow on high ground, spreading eastwards and south.’
‘Oh, dear! We may be cut off for days!’
There is much to like about Murder in the Snow (originally published as Groaning Spinney), most of all I loved the scene setting: Mrs Bradley visits her nephew and his new wife for the Christmas holidays in the Cotswolds and just as they settle in, the snow begins to fall. And keeps on falling, cutting off the village community from the outside world. As the snowfall stops and roads begin to clear, a body is discovered.
But this is not the only disturbance: a woman goes missing, and some poison letters make their rounds through the village. Yeah, it had a lot of similarities with Christie's The Moving Finger (published nearly ten years earlier):
‘Oh, Lord!’ said Jonathan. ‘I do hope this isn’t going to begin. Have you got one?’
‘One what?’ asked Deborah, opening some retarded Christmas cards.
‘An anonymous contribution to your knowledge of my morals and conceits. I’ve got a beauty about you!’
I loved Mrs Bradley and her family, but didn't manage to maintain an interest in the mystery. For all Mrs Bradley straight-laced attitude and witty snark, the story was a typical Mitchell construction - it lost momentum after the first third and only perked up occasionally from there on until the end.
But what an end! Mrs Bradley and her nephew literally try and hunt down the villain - on a fox hunt. Yes, it is dated. Very dated in parts, but some of the dialogue still makes me smile, even tho I have no idea how it progresses the plot. And let's face it, that plot needed progressing. Badly.
‘But what I think isn’t evidence.’
‘It probably will be,’ said the Chief Constable, who, beneath a curmudgeonly manner, cherished an affection for Mrs Bradley’s gifts and was rather put out of countenance at what seemed to be her negative results in this particular case.
‘Smack it about, my dear, and let’s get action. The papers are beginning to be shrill.’
‘If that that bears all things bears thee,’ quoted Mrs Bradley in solemn and sonorous Greek, ‘bear thou and be borne.’
‘That’s all very well. But fair words butter no parsnips.’
‘Do you like parsnips?’
‘Would you agree that it does not matter to you, therefore, whether parsnips are buttered or not?’
‘Oh, but look here—!’
Book themes for Boxing Day/St. Stephen’s Day: Read anything where the main character has servants (paid servants count, NOT unpaid) or is working as a servant him-/ herself.
I am counting Murder in the Snow (originally published as Groaning Spinney) towards the book task for Square # 15 as this story actively involves Mrs Bradley's chauffeur, her chef, her maid, and her personal assistant.
...and can I just say how much I love this cover?
I've just compiled my Christmas Reading List, a selection of murder mysteries and short stories to enjoy this season.
Murder in the Snow is a Mrs Bradley mystery that I've been particularly looking forward to. The story has only been re-released earlier this month. It sees Mrs Bradley travelling to the Cotswolds to spend the holidays with her favourite nephew.
My hope is that this will be somewhat similar to Hercule Poirot's Christmas, which is still one of my favourite Poirot mysteries.
Is anyone else putting together a holiday/winter reading list?
While the story was a good one, there were areas where you knew that the deaths were all connected, but you couldn't be certain of how. I really wanted to know how she got her things back so many times when she walked away leaving them someplace or in one case where she is forced in front of a bus, her items go flying out into the street, but no where does it say that they survived being flung out (possibly run over), it just mentions that they were left or flung. I know silly things, but given that they had information on them for the court case and Ms. Grace makes a point of saying how everything for the case is on her Ipad and Iphone and her papers.
The book also seemed a bit autobiographical at times and also fictional at others. I was interested in this book compared to the movie version that had been shown on Hallmark. This book has some like the movie, but not much. I know that I will probably read the other books by Nancy Grace.